World Soccer views and news
Spurs seize their “now or never” opportunity
It was a case of “now or never” for Tottenham this season as, if they had failed to snatch fourth place and a passport to the Champions League, they might never had had another shot.
Crashing the “big four” has been the target of half-a-dozen clubs in the last decade and Spurs went close with two fifth-placed finishes in 2006 and 07.
Everton managed it in 2005 and have been hovering, along with Aston Villa, on the outskirts most years since then.
However, the arrival of mega-money at Manchester City has changed the landscape and as long as their Arab owners remain interested, it is a question of when, not if, City become established in the top four.
Given that they were so close this year with a newly-built team in a season split by two managers, the odds are short that they will make it next year.
It is impossible to see Manchester United or Chelsea failing to maintain their positions in the top four, while Arsenal and Liverpool will also be in the mix despite the latter’s struggles this season.
Unless another new billionaire comes along to buy and build another middling or struggling club, the status quo seems unlikely to change.
So, for Spurs fans and neutrals it really is a time for celebration.
It might feel odd to be doing laps of honour for finishing fourth, something that would not have raised an eyebrow let alone a roof 20 years ago, but the football world is very different now from when Spurs last cracked the top four.
An English club with an English manager and half a team of English players is a rarity these days and if they are playing in the Champions League it can only help the national team.
But, being Spurs, it would not be a surprise if they forgot how to play next August and it would be a shame, if not a shock, if they fail to get through the qualifying round.